The name "Tourmaline" derived from the ancient Ceylonese word "turmoil." But we must not confuse the word "Turmoil" with another Ceylonese word "Turamali," as natives applied this term to another mineral known as Zircon.
History & Origin
The first specimens of Tourmaline came to the European markets at the beginning of the 18th century. In 1820, two students-mineralogists Elijah L. Hamlin and Ezekiel Holmes discovered Tourmaline deposits at the foot of Mount Mica near Paris, Maine. This discovery caused a rapidly growing interest to this gemstone. Later, the deposits were discovered in California and New York.
However, we can meet the mentions of Tourmaline in the ancient sources. According to Theophrastus, the first specimens of this gemstone were found in the vicinity of Cyprus. Most likely, he wrote about Watermelon Tourmaline, taking into account the difference of colors at the ends of the crystal. Pliny, in turn, describes the iron mines of Elba, claiming that this was the place of discovery of the first crystals of Tourmaline. He also mentions the peculiar feature of this gemstone to attract small objects.
The discovery of this unique physical quality of Tourmaline belongs to two young boys who played with the crystals. The story took place in Holland. During their game, the children noted that the crystals of Tourmaline, when heated in the sun, were capable of attracting ash, dust, small pieces of paper and even straws. The boys were impressed with the magical properties of the crystals and demonstrated them to their parents. Having no idea how the miracle happens, the adults named the crystals "aschentreckers." By the way, this term was applied to Tourmaline for a long time on this occasion. But, thanks to this incident, the unique magnetic properties of Tourmaline were found.
The Tourmaline crystals exhibit a full rainbow of colors, from colorful varieties to a complete black specimen known as Schorl or Black Tourmaline. Usually, we can meet red, green, blue and pink shades of Tourmaline. However, there are gorgeous shades of this gemstone. For instance, the crystals that represent internal shades of red and external of green. There is also the so-called Watermelon Tourmaline which bears this name thanks to the similarity to the eponymous fruit. Among the varieties, there is Rubellite, Indicolite, Indigo Blue Tourmaline, Aphrizite, etc.
Magical & Healing Properties
Few sources are describing the supernatural properties of this gemstone. However, there is one American author who has undertaken a deep study of this stone on the subject of superstitions and lore. His name is George F. Kunz. He seriously explored the ancient sources about Tourmaline and found there some mentions of its magical and healing properties.
According to his research, Tourmaline symbolizes faith and charity. This gemstone also serves a symbol of Brazil. Tourmaline is a gem of autumn. This stone is also appropriate to the name Theodore. Tourmaline is the gemstone for Libra, and it correlates to Calendula, a birth flower for October. Read more about Tourmaline.